I am not used to clay court: Amritraj

Updated: 20 September 2008 17:45 IST

Prakash Amritraj blamed his humiliating loss in the Davis Cup play-off tie against Victor Crivoi to his inexperience on red clay and a leg injury.

I am not used to clay court: Amritraj

Bucharest (Romania):

Prakash Amritraj blamed his humiliating loss in the opening match of Davis Cup world group play-off tie against Romanian Victor Crivoi to his inexperience on red clay and a leg injury.

"It was my first professional match on clay. I thought I got a little bit better, I felt a little more comfortable during the match, but this is something I will definitely be working on in the future," said Amritraj.

"Towards the end of the third set I was cramping a little bit and I think that is why maybe I wasn't into every point in the fourth set," he added.

The 25-year-old son of legendary Vijay Amritraj, who received a 5-7, 7-5, 2-6, 2-6 thrashing at the hands of Crivoi, rued missed chances, saying he let go opportunity to dictate terms in the third set even though the two were level at 1-1.

"I think the biggest thing was the first two sets - I had the chance to go up. In the beginning of the third I had 0-30 twice, a couple of 15-30.

"But I let him get back into it, I let him dictate instead of myself dictate," he said.

Amritraj also admitted that "I got a little bit tired." India started their campaign on bad note losing both singles encounters to trail 0-2 in the best of five rubber against Romania.

Another Indian Somdev Devvarman lost 3-6, 1-6, 0-6 to Victor Hanescu.

The Indian saved a breakpoint in the fourth game in the first set with a very long rally in which he pinned the Romanian to the left of the court to set and convert the crucial point. However, Hanescu showed who was superior as he made inroads quite intelligently, earning two breakpoints in the eighth game and converted second to draw first blood.

There was no scope for even a marginal error and it needed depth in ground strokes to tame an opponent like Hansecue, who did not show any mercy against the Indian lad.

Earlier, an error prone Prakash Amritraj went down in the first singles rubber against Victor Crivoi to leave India trailing 0-1.

In the match between number one singles player of India and second best of the hosts, Prakash put up a brilliant fight in the first two sets but ran out of steam as the game progressed in the clay court tie, which he lost 5-7, 7-5 2-6 2-6.

Up against a player, placed 64 rungs above him in the ATP ranking charts, Prakash was all fired up in the second set as he overpowered the Romanian to fight his way back in the match but failed to maintain the intensity.

Once he dropped his serve in the fifth game of the third set, when an engrossing battle was on, Prakash looked out of sorts as he struggled to curb the growing unforced errors.

In the end, Prakash, playing on his least favoured pitch, lacked mental toughness required on physically demanding clay courts.

After going down 5-7 in the opening set, Prakash made a remarkable comeback to win the second and levelled the scores despite going down 2-4 after suffering an early break.

The numero uno player of India unleashed solid ground strokes, pinning his opponent to the baseline and played an aggressive net game to earn points. Prakash broke Crivoi in the 10th game as his big strokes left the Romanian gasping and the Indian cashed in on the second breakpoint when he hit an overhead smash to make it 5-5.

With his attacking game, Prakash once again forced the hosts' number two player make unforced errors and broke him for the second time in the set in the 12th game to stay afloat in the match.

The first four games went with serves in the third set before a series of unforced errors saw the Indian dropping his serve in the fifth game and thus handing advantage to his opponent.

A good fight looked on the card, but Prakash surprisingly lower the guard and lost four straight games to hand the set to the Romanian.

Crivoi produced some stunning cross-court winners and service return winners to double break Prakash and went up 5-2 and had no problem in holding his own serve in the eighth game to close the set 6-2 in his favour.

The hosts' player broke Prakash, who had lost it in his mind, twice in the fourth set dashing all Indian hopes of a comeback and ran away with the set and match to give his country 1-0 lead.

Somdev Devvarman will take on number one Romanian player Victor Hanescu in the second singles rubber.



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